The Los Angeles Dodgers relied on several outfielders to navigate their way through the 2023 season and once again have to dive into the free agent or trade markets to replace that production.
David Peralta, Chris Taylor, Jason Heyward, James Outman, Mookie Betts, Jonny DeLuca and Trayce Thompson factored into the outfield mix this past season, but the Dodgers would be better off finding some more stability.
They were also unable to get quality production from their contributors in left field, which provides them with an area to upgrade heading into 2024.
There are available options via free agency, but the Dodgers could shift their focus to the trade market if they want to add another veteran bat to their outfield equation with Max Kepler of the Minnesota Twins as a potential option, per David Vassegh of AM 570 L.A. Sports Radio:
“Certainly the Dodgers are looking for another left-handed bat. Max Kepler of the Twins also falls into that category.”
Kepler has spent his entire big league career with the Twins, but for the most part has exclusively played right field. He was a solid defensive outfielder this year, which wouldn’t take much away from the quality of defense the Dodgers had during the 2023 season.
He’ll be 31 when the 2024 season gets underway and is entering the final year under team control. Kepler has a $10 million price tag attached to the last season of a five-year, $35 million contract he signed prior to 2019.
Kepler posted a 124 wRC+ with 22 doubles, 24 home runs, 66 RBI, 72 runs scored, and a 2.6 fWAR in 2023. The veteran outfielder carried the highest strikeout rate of his career as a full-time player at 21.6%, but he still managed to be productive.
Possible Max Kepler trade benefits
Kepler’s splits versus right-handed pitching aren’t spectacular, and since the 2021 season he’s carried a 113 wRC+ versus righties with a .769 on-base plus slugging.
Because of his price tag, Kepler would be a decent trade target, however, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman could fill the role of fourth outfielder in other ways that don’t require giving up prospects in return.
The Dodgers also already have a pure platoon bat in Heyward, who figures to see the majority of his time against righties in right field.
Kepler won’t cost as much as another rumored bat like Joc Pederson, but paying a bit more in pure contract value is worth it rather than giving up prospects for similar production.
Have you subscribed to the Dodger Blue YouTube channel? Be sure to ring the notification bell to watch player interviews, participate in shows and giveaways, and stay up to date on all Dodgers news and rumors!